GOP Replacement Plan

Think of our ACA health care system as a bridge. It enables people to travel from the mainland of life to the island of health care.

For seven years the GOP has criticized the ACA bridge. “It costs too much to maintain. It doesn’t do this or that. We will replace with an improved bridge.”

In the seven years they did not engineer a stronger replacement. They did not gather supplies to build a replacement. What they did do, incessantly, was criticize the existing, working bridge that millions depend on. In the form of Graham-Cassidy they will vote on removing the bridge people are using. They do so with no plans or materials for a replacement bridge. Millions will lose this lifeline of a benefit.

They will do this because they’ve been saying they will for seven years and somehow feel they must. It is more important to the GOP to win a vote than to continue protecting millions of Americans. It is more important to them to tear down a working bridge. They had years to prepare an improvement. Now all they have for a replacement is making a point about political power.

Making that point will certainly lead to the deaths of thousands and impoverish millions as the bridge they depend on is demolished.

Growing Admiration

“Would you mind getting the gate?” said Ted Rindahl. In his late 70s he and a neighbor had been riding through steep sided ravines and draws in western North Dakota. They were¬† cattle. checking on cattle. The end of a long day was nearing. You probably know some people in their late 70s. Some get along well walking on pavement. Others need a walker. After a lifetime of ranch work and farming Ted was still strong and full of vigor.

A few years earlier one of Ted’s grandsons had stayed with him for a year. The kid was 25 and normally a city dweller. Early in his stay they’d gone out for a similar type of ride. They rode for hours through the mostly open range. The next morning Ted was feeling energetic and chuckled as the grandson stiffly shuffled through the house. He was 72 when he rode his grandson, nearly 50 years his junior, into the ground.

Ted continued, “When the horses bunched up early on and your’s kicked out he caught me in the leg. I think it might be broken and if I get off I don’t think I’ll be able to get back on.”

For quite some time he’d been riding rough terrain on a possibly broken leg. He didn’t voice any complaints. Just did the day’s work. Now he’s politely asking the other younger rider if he’d open the gate.

When I called my mom to verify the details she asked “the first or second time his leg was broken?” In his mid 30s during mid winter Ted was out working. The horse he was on skittered on a patch of ice and slid sideways into an embankment. Snap. Ted was alone and town was a couple of miles away. He rode through the midwinter frozen lands. He stopped at a neighbor’s house and asked for a bit of help with the horse.¬† He was ever polite and ever strong.

Last weekend I fell from a ladder and broke my leg. I didn’t politely ask for anything. “Phil, have Jennifer call 9-1-1.” I didn’t ride a horse with the broken leg. I sat on my butt until the EMTs arrived. Fortunately they were fast. The shock was wearing off and the pain levels were climbing.

During the next few hours in the ER room I thought of my grandfather’s second broken leg. I’d always admired the man. During those hours the admiration grew more than I could have imagined.

 

Retirement

Not My Retirement Destination

This is a bit drafty. Expect updates over the next week, until September 24.

It’s official.
I’m unemployed.
As in retired.
Yayz!~ FB and Twitter announcement

A bit early by American standards, I’ve taken one of the big steps in life.

Whew.  This step is made possible by savings in 401(k) and IRAs, faith that Social Security will not be gutted or hyper inflation will not arrive, an expectation that the stock market will tank in the next decade, and modeling that shows pessimistic market returns (low) and expected inflation (bit higher than historical average with lots of variability) our saving will see us through.

The dominant reaction is congratulations. Age-peers who are still working expressed some wistfulness bordering on envy.

The number one question is far and away “What are you going to do?”
I’ve planned for that. Starting a few years ago two questions became a concern.

  • How will you stay healthy to prolong your life?
  • What will you do in retirement?

As a now 40 year cancer survivor facing some long-term side effects from the treatment the first question deserves more than special attention.

As to the second question, there is common advice for creatives that’s appropriate. “Talking about your work saps the energy to do it. Talk with your work.” You may recognize this as “let your actions speak for themselves.” That’s why I’ve refused to answer the question publicly.

My life has traversed a winding path. Over the years many interests were explored. There’s no one hobby or  side job to devote more attention to. There is not even a top three or four. Revisiting those is a top interest.  A structure for daily activities has been defined, it’s now time to test and refine that structure until it becomes an ingrained habit.

For those of you who are curious for  more details here are some hints.

  • I have a degree in fine arts. Imagine what you will
  • Jennifer and I will continue to travel with a preference for cities that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites .
  • Three volunteering commitments are being explored.
  • The “to be read” collection of books is approaching the size of a small library.
  • “To have another language is to possess a second soul.” ~ Charlemagne.  A third? Fourth?
  • Food is fundamental. Food is fun. I can cook passably well. There is much to explore.
  • An early career path was in radio.
  • Written words to communicate and preserve memories are valuable.
  • Bicycling is a good time.
  • There are a lot of tools in the basement.

For now I’m going to clean out the basement and garage while building the daily habits to support those interests.

Data Mules

Imagine a time when, no matter how secure the encryption seems, it’s deemed necessary to physically transport data between locations. Perhaps via a chip implanted in a messenger.
An early draft of what that might be like.

Implant Messengers aka Data Mules
Implant Messengers aka Data Mules